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Product Details

  • Actors: James Caan, John Houseman, Maud Adams, John Beck, Moses Gunn
  • Directors: Norman Jewison
  • Writers: William Harrison
  • Producers: Norman Jewison, Patrick J. Palmer
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: March 10, 1998
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0792838300
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,090 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Rollerball" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack
  • A featurette with behind-the-scenes footage
  • Interactive Rollergame

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The year is 2018. There are no wars. There is no crime. There is only...the Game. In a world where ruthless corporations reign supreme, this vicious and barbaric 'sport is the only outlet for the pent-up anger and frustrations of the masses.Tuned to their televisions, the people watch Rollerball : a brutal mutation of football, motocross and hockey. Jonathan E. (James Caan, Misery) is the champion playera man too talented for his own good. The Corporation has taken away the woman Jonathan loves (Maud Adams, Octopussy) but it can't take away his souleven if diabolical corporate head (John Houseman, The Paper Chase) tells him he d better retire...or sufferthe old-fashioned way.With its surrealistic imagery and tense action sequences, Rollerball grips you by the heartand never lets you go!


In the year 2018, violence and crime have been totally eliminated from society and given outlet in the brutal blood sport of rollerball, a high-velocity blend of football, hockey, and motor-cross racing sponsored by the multinational corporations that now control the world following the collapse of traditional politics. James Caan plays Jonathan E., the reigning superstar of rollerball, whose corporate controllers fear that Jonathan's popularity has endowed him with too much power. They begin to pressure him according to their own ruthless set of rules, but Jonathan has rules of his own--the rules of a man determined to retain his soul in a world gone mad. As directed by Norman Jewison (who was enjoying a peak of success during the early and mid-1970s), Rollerball creates a believable society that's been rendered passive and compliant by the homogenization of corporate dictatorships, where the control and flow of information is the only currency of any importance. It's a world in which natural human aggressions have been sublimated and vented through the religious fervor toward rollerball and its players. Rollerball now looks like one of those 1970s science fiction films (another example being Logan's Run) that seems a bit dated and quaint, but its ideas are still provocative and fascinating, and the production is visually impressive. The DVD includes full-screen and widescreen versions of the film, audio commentary by director Norman Jewison, a behind-the-scenes featurette, an interactive "rollergame," trivia, and production notes. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Johnny Sideburns on October 30, 2002
Format: DVD
"Rollerball" (judged one of the best sports movies of all time by Sports Illustrated) is more than a sports movie (although in 1975 Norman Jewison was only guessing at the thrall in which superstar athletes such as James Caan's Jonathan E could hold the public; fans carry pictures of him to matches as though he were Chairman Mao or Yasser Arafat), more than an action movie (though the stunt sequences during the games rival those of "Mad Max"), and much more than Orwellian science fiction.
The strengths of the movie lie in the way a society that is run from cradle to grave by corporations (rather than governments) is effectively portrayed as being both class-driven (director Norman Jewison uses the time-honored Hollywood trick of using actors with English accents to play the ruling corporate class, while the Rollerball players have working-class Southern U.S. drawls when they speak at all) as well as completely desensitized from all of humanity's pains through the creature comforts (including those of the recreational pharmaceutical variety) provided by the corporations.
The public channels what remaining passion for violence that exists in their world through the game of Rollerball, allowing themselves to be deluded into thinking that the carnage going on in their arenas and on their Multivision sets is perfectly excusable becasue it is not perpetrated by men but by machines ("Don't be silly, they're made in Detroit"). There is some question to the validity of the game itself; after the first match shown on film (the quarterfinal game of the season, it seems), the coach of Jonathan's team remarks that they will play New York in the Final.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Conno on June 21, 2000
Format: DVD
A friend came over the other night and poped the "Rollerball" DVD into the player - for a moment or two I grimaced, imagining some sort of .. poor 1970s version of "The Running Man" - little did I know it would be MUCH BETTER!
Was I surprised when the movie that unfolded was more like a cross between the stories of "1984", the computer game "Syndicate", and the court case against Bill Gates.
The story is about the fact that the world has evolved into a place where six major companies run everything, with very basic names: "Energy Corporation", "Leisure Corporation", "Food Corporation" etc., where each company has its own anthem and logo/colour scheme.
The corporations control EVERYTHING, including the main pastime for the people of Earth, "The Game", Rollerball.
Are you still with me? While it sounds very totalitarian, it is very realistic, with much of what goes on today reflected into this film...
Anyway, the plot revolves around a champion of "The Game", Jonothan E., who is so great, so popular that the Corporations Committee becomes scared and decides to force him to quit. But Jonothan has other ideas - the Committee has already taken his wife away, now his career... It is all too much for him, and the film develops into a battle (both violent and covert) against the Committee of Corporations.
A brilliant film which is about to be remade - directed by John McTiernan, the guy who did Die Hard, Predator, Hunt for Red October, 13th Warrior etc... But watch the original and be able to see what maes it a great film.
The story is truly imaginative and clever, James Caan is brilliant, the art direction is great (winning a BAFTA). Watch this film, BUY IT!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 11, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
This film is exactly what the world of sci-fi needed. It is a painstakingly detailed, highly tear-inducing, look into a future wherein everything is run by huge corporations. The world is a thriving marketplace. But this apparent happiness by many is shadowed by the game on which the entire world places their money. The game is rollerball; a strange mix of basketball, roller derby, rugby and ice hockey. The wounds some players endure are enough to take a life. There is a time when the games has no time limit, and the last player left standing wins for the team. It is at this game that we realize the brutality of the world in which we might live. The acting is marvelous; James Caan's fine performance is just as potent and unwaveable as was his Sonny Corleone performance in "The Godfather". The action is harrowingly realistic and the overall edge-of-your-seat suspense is easily provided. The camera work is often incredible as we can see the expressions on the players' faces. A widescreen version would very much help in exhibiting the grandeurof this movie. I thought the slow-motion sequences, though a vey old trick, were used most effectively, particularly during the game scenes. This picture is often called one of Norman Jewison's best films. If it's not the best, it is certainly the most underappreciated.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on November 19, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
There are so many reviewers who've already stated what this movie is about, I'd rather state the issues that made this movie a work of genius. In order to do that, I have to lay some insight. If you don't want to read it, skip it and go for another review. What I write here it to add validation and credence to this movie and why I think it should be shown in schools and universities - for its social-economical merit alone, not counting its great entertainment value.

For those who did not live in the 60's and 70's, for those who grew up in Generation X or Y, they may not EVER understand the context or the insight to the social-economic concerns of the post war era that this movie brings to the screen. It is not filled with FX and foul language and a continuous bombardment of fast-paced sensory numbing violence and shock value like so many of the later movies we see today of which these later generations thrive on. No wonder so many people of the later generations cannot appreciate or understand what a great movie this is, ebbing with its soft and muted sequences and waves of unglorious violence which fills the sports world and society's lust for violence. However, there may be some from the later generations past the babyboomers who may really appreciate this movie and all it stood for and so I do not exclude those with that depth of insight.

In order to support this movie's weight and value of its perspective, I write a bit to validate it. The movie implies that in the future, we border on a half capitalistic/half socialistic society where all people's needs are met but that some of the rights of individual freedom have disappeared at the cost of social equality.
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